PEOPLE are outraged after reports emerged of men shooting pigeons in Caerphilly Castle, days after they were nursed back to health.

CADW, who run heritage sites across Wales including Caerphilly Castle, have been blamed for the kills. It's alleged that as many as 60 birds were shot down by two men with rifles.

This included seven pigeons looked after by Carole Gravener, who has run Caerphilly Bird Rescue with her husband Ray for more than 20 years.

Mrs Gravener said: “What has happened to my birds is soul-destroying.

“There were men with rifles at Caerphilly Castle shooting birds in the evening, with them returning the following morning to pick up the bodies when there are people, children and dogs around.

“I’m infuriated because this means they didn’t even check the kills were clean. Birds may have been left suffering throughout the night and it’s so disrespectful.”

Mrs Gravener and her husband are extremely busy as it’s breeding season, but fear there may be similar culls lined up from the historical site.

“They killed seven of my pigeons among the many killed,” added Mrs Graver.

“They’ve left nests with no parents, which I know because I have two of them. One with a baby bird, another with two eggs, and now they have no mother. I’m so furious and upset – I feel like I’ve been hit by a car.”

Among those killed was an eight-month-old pigeon who the couple have spent a month caring for as he had a canker in his throat which Mrs Gravener described as ‘horrific.’

Two days after he was finally released, he was shot dead.

Cadw are said to be investigating the incident and have been contacted for comment.

A volunteer at Friends of Animals Wales, who didn’t want to be named, was also horrified by the news.

She said: “I think it’s absolutely awful what happened; I just can’t believe it.

“It might have been evening when they were shooting but it was still in public and whoever is responsible doesn’t seem to care. Caerphilly Bird Rescue work so hard to help make animals better, and this is absolutely devastating.”

The public have also been appalled by the cull, with many contacting Morgan Jones ward Cllr Jamie Pritchard.

Mr Pritchard said: "To hear of shots ringing out around the castle for the alleged killing of birds is very disturbing.

“I've asked CADW directly whether they were in anyway responsible and await their response. This is not something most people would welcome."

Caerphilly Plaid Cymru councillor Lindsay Whittle has also criticised the move.

Cllr Whittle, a former leader of Caerphilly Council and South East Wales Assembly Member, said: "Surely they could have taken measures as happens at every major airport to scare the birds away. I know birds of prey such as hawks have been used at the central library in Cardiff and at the Millennium Stadium and even Wimbledon.

"If the pigeons are causing a nuisance, surely a bit of commonsense could have been used to move them away rather than shooting them, which is totally unacceptable in my book.

"I can fully understand why the people that run Caerphilly Bird Rescue are so angry and upset at the killing of birds.

"I want to know what Cadw’s policy is on this issue – is it something they endorse and carry out on all their premises across the whole of Wales?"